As we look back at Thanksgiving weekend… The preparation of the meal, the family visits, and the football games, did we each get to stop and truly express true gratitude? What exactly is this, and how does it so easily slip past us?
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So, what was your Thanksgiving like?
Were you and your family able to stop and actually BE thankful, or were you caught up with preparing the meals, cleaning, traveling, watching the games, Black Friday shopping, etc?
On Sunday, Jason used the following story to illustrate gratefulness:
As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. As he entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy.
One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan.
Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.”
When we read the story of the healed lepers, we realize that gratitude is a response to something. How do we know if our level of gratitude an adequate response to what I have been given?
Watch the video below with your group, and answer the next question or two.
When that dad ran out on the field, how did his kids respond?
How did everyone else in the video respond?
How did you respond?
When something happens, we respond in kind. It is appropriate to have an adequate response to what has happened.
How does that relate to my spiritual life? In other words… Ask your group this question… What has God done in my life that I should respond to?
Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.
But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.
Knowing this, what is an adequate response? Saying “thank you?” Giving God a gift? Promising never to sin again? Going to church every Sunday? What is an adequate response?
For me, I love the line that Isaac Watts penned in his famous hymn, “When I Survey The Wondrous Cross.” The song describes seeing the incredible gift of the cross, and the response of the believer.
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
Is that the pattern of my life? Is the life of Jesus worth my life in return? Isn’t that true gratitude?
How well have I expressed that true gratitude to Jesus?
In the story, nine out of ten of those lepers did “what they were supposed to do.” They went about their business, attending the Temple services, and going about their life. ONLY ONE of them, the Samaritan, returned to Jesus to shout, “Praise God.”
Is my life characterized by the nine, going about their business? Or am I like the one? Am I living my life as a shout of praise to God? What does that sound like?